Celebrating Hanukkah in America


The menorah has eight main branches and one branch for the lighting stick, the menorah has one candle lit each night of of the celebration. Every Jewish family features one in their home and/or by a front window. photo courtesy of: Zoe Simon

As soon as December rolls around, lights fill the air, Christmas tunes are on 24/7 and Christmas movies play on repeat for days, but where are the other holidays?

Hanukkah is an eight-night celebration that begins on December twelfth and ends December twentieth. The holiday celebrates the Maccabees success in fighting away Greek from Jerusalem. It lasts eight nights because the group had oil that was supposed to last one night that miraculously lasted longer than expected.

Hanukkah is celebrated through the lighting of one candle a night on the menorah, eating food fried in oil and getting gifts. The families must put a menorah in their window to show the community they are Jewish. Simon thinks the biggest advantage is the length of the holiday. As a child, Simon got a few gifts each night, but now she gets 3 larger gifts.

“My favorite tradition is eating potato pancakes with my family” sophomore Zoe Simon said.

The holiday is legitimate, yet it is not on a traditional calendar, it is not even included on Apples iPhone Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah is not included in Guilford County’s winter break, and almost never is, due to its changing days. It is not even recognized in most stores, Target has a small section for the holiday, but most of the seasonal space is taken up by Christmas decorations.

“I wish I had a Christmas tree because they’re really cute and look fun to decorate,” Simon said.

Christmas is one of the United States most popular holidays, with the holiday being plastered everywhere during December. Other holidays celebrated in the month are suppressed. Simon has never had a big issue with Christmas, but she wishes that Hanukkah was more widely celebrated or acknowledge, but it has never ruined her celebrations with her family.

Being apart of a culture that widely celebrates Christmas, this still allows students to take part in some of the traditions. Simon listens to Christmas music and has even seen a few Christmas movies. She has also taken part in some of the traditions like secret Santa at school celebrations.

“I only joke [that I’m mad] about Christmas, I’m not strict about it and have fun taking part in some traditions, ” Simon said.